For over twenty years Malvern Civic Society has been making an annual Civic Award. We are always on the look-out for new or renovated buildings, completed during the previous year, which add something special to the built environment of the area. The award is only a small plaque but it is highly regarded by the winning owners, builders and developers. Last year’s winner was the new Malvern Link railway station and we were hoping for nominations of similar high quality this year. We were not disappointed.
There were six nominations – one newly built development, two renovations of large Victorian houses, and three more radical renovations which completely changed the character of their original buildings.
The new development is Nightingale Court in Jenny Lind Grove, Malvern Link. Roy Pendleton of Court Properties and his designer Steven Salisbury achieved the difficult feat of fitting two 3-bedroomed duplex units and two 2-bedroomed apartments into the ground plan of a small chapel which existed there before, without sacrificing space or convenience. The new building fits in well with the quiet, residential character of the area.
No 8 The Lees (off Thirlstane Road) is one of the Victorian houses which has been renovated. Tom Wood inherited this fine house, built in 1889, which, apart from a rear extension added in the 1920s, has survived almost unchanged. It has been a labour of love for Tom to manage a total renovation both inside and out using local expertise. Architect Marcus Cleaver, builders Jeremy Dean and Horizon Construction, stonemason James Robinson, carpenters Mark Davies and Steve Taine and metalworker D.A. Walton have all been involved. An elegant and spacious family home and garden have been brought back to life with much thoughtful and painstaking work.
The other Victorian house is Elmslie House in Avenue Road. This has had a significant history. It was designed and built in 1862 by the distinguished Malvern architect E.W. Elmslie, with ornamentation both inside and out by the Worcester sculptor William Forsyth. It went through several changes of ownership and name until it was bought in 2013 by Anna and Bernard Taylor. They have carried out a thorough and careful renovation of both the house and the garden, using local architect Steve Davies and a team of local craftsmen including Pegasus Joinery, Steve Allard the stonemason, the Swinbourne brothers, Morgan the blacksmith and the glazier Malcolm Wicherley. The house has now regained its original Victorian splendour but is also a delightful family home.
No 17 Imperial Road was a nondescript 1960s bungalow. Behind the façade the living area has now been more than doubled by owner Owen Law, assisted by local builders Simon Rowe and Jeremy Dean, creating a spacious, modern home.
The Razak Science Centre, named after a former pupil who is now prime minister of Malaysia, is a truly impressive addition to Malvern College. Two existing science buildings, one built in the 1930s and the other in the 1960s, have been completely renovated and modernised and connected together by a new component which contains a state-of-the-art lecture theatre. The architects were Squire and Brown and the work was carried out by Keir Construction. The overall impression is of space and light.
The apartment building called ‘The Corner’ has made a dramatic appearance at the junction of Christchurch and Court Roads. There was a dull three-storey structure here before. Now developer Ben Guthrie and Matt Banks of Glazzard Architects have transformed it by clever outside styling and radical internal planning. Bricklayers Brooke and Poynton, Walter Electrical and W.P. Plastering have created a striking, modernist building which improves the character of the whole area.
It was difficult to compare these six very different structures but, in the end, the committee’s unanimous decision was that the 2016 award should go to Elmslie House. This iconic Victorian mansion has been saved for posterity; the craftsmanship and attention to detail have been superb and, as the owners are keen to arrange a series of public events in the house, the whole community can enjoy what has been achieved. The winner’s plaque will be presented to Anna and Bernard as part of Malvern’s Civic Week events. (John Dixon, Chair of Civic Award Sub-Committee)